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View Full Version : Review of Pocket Informant 2005


Ed Hansberry
08-08-2005, 11:00 AM
<a href="http://www.mobiletechreview.com/software/Pocket-Informant-2005.htm">http://www.mobiletechreview.com/software/Pocket-Informant-2005.htm</a><br /><br /><i>"The core function of a Personal Digital Assistant revolves around its Personal Information Management (PIM) and associated software. Pocket Outlook on the Pocket PC platform provides some nice capabilities, but built-in applications rarely satisfy those with demanding or complex requirements. We took one of the most popular and powerful alternatives for a test drive. Pocket Informant 2005 does literally everything a PIM can do and more. It replaces the built-in Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Journal, and adds a Timeline view. It can have more custom screens than Enron has lawyers, seemingly only limited by your imagination. This review canít possibly cover the depth of Pocket Informant, but weíll try to provide a look at its breadth."</i><br /><br />This review from MobileTechReview hits on the high points of Pocket Informant. If you've been wanting a bit more out of your Pocket PC when it comes to the PIM, you should check out this review and see if Pocket Informant fits the bill for you.

Menneisyys
08-08-2005, 11:13 AM
You may also want to read this thread (http://discussion.brighthand.com/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=119673) on completely (!) relocating PI 2005 from the main memory.

teq
08-08-2005, 11:20 AM
I looked at the new version - and for the first time in the last two years I didn't purchase a PI upgrade.

Why? Not important stuff, really.

1. I find the UI more complicated than in the previous versions (guess I got used to the look and feel of PI Professional 5). Mostly, I miss the possibility to set the order of the application registry cards (I want it to be calendar, contacts, notes, to do - and not the default order I suddenly am supposed to accept in PI 2005).

2. Also, I still find the icons unusably small on a VGA device.

So, while I still love PI, I'm happy to continue using the older version. (Just my 5 cents, though).

Cheers,
teq

dMores
08-08-2005, 11:39 AM
PI is wonderful.
everything a PIM app should be.

so the question is: why does microsoft provide us with a crappy PIM application? if you look at outlook for the desktop, and compare with it's pda counterpart, you really wonder if they have some kind of deal with 3rd party companies that forces us to spend even more money just so we can get the usability we're used to on our desktops.

Darius Wey
08-08-2005, 11:47 AM
so the question is: why does microsoft provide us with a crappy PIM application?

Well, it's a well-known fact that Outlook Mobile on Windows Mobile 2003 and earlier has been anything but stellar. On the other hand, Windows Mobile 5.0 includes a major upgrade to the PIM applications - particularly in the realm of Contacts and Messaging. It might not compare to Pocket Informant or Agenda Fusion, but what Windows Mobile 5.0 packs (by default) is enough for a standard WM2003 > WM5.0 migrant to say, "Cool! I'm glad it can finally do that."

On the developer end, companies can now take advantage of certain PIM features in Windows Mobile 5.0, thanks to the rich set of newly-included APIs. There will always be folk who will stick with the default offerings in Outlook Mobile, and there will always be folk who will stick to applications like Pocket Informant or Agenda Fusion. With Windows Mobile 5.0, the functionality of these third-party PIM applications can only go on up, not down.

jefito
08-08-2005, 03:35 PM
so the question is: why does microsoft provide us with a crappy PIM application? if you look at outlook for the desktop, and compare with it's pda counterpart, you really wonder if they have some kind of deal with 3rd party companies that forces us to spend even more money just so we can get the usability we're used to on our desktops.


If you think about it, what do you actually get by default on your desktop when you buy a windows-equipped PC. You don't get MS Office or MS Works -- you pay extra for them. You get Notepad/Wordpad and Outlook Express. These are basic, functional applications -- nothing too fancy, but some some people, that's enough. For those that need more, then you can get what you want. Maybe you buy MS Office or Works, or maybe you get WordPerfect Office, or maybe even StarOffice. Whatever -- it's extra. And imagine if you will all the handwringing and lawsuits and cries of "Monopoly!" and "Anticompetitive!" if MS bundled Office with XP.

So things are not too different with Windows Mobile. You get a basic PIM system that's plenty for many peoples' needs. You get Pocket Word and Excel. And if you want better, then guess what -- you gotta pay extra. And what's so bad about that? Let's face it -- on this platform, MS has no high-end PIM product, and so you get 3rd-party folks like WebIS and Deveoloper One, among others, offering very competitive PIM applications. This is a good thing -- these apps are reasonably priced and feature-packed, and it's highly unlikely that they have any kind of deal with MS, as you suggest. Who would be paying who in such a deal?

You don't get Office functionality on your desktop for free -- why would you expect it on your handheld?

dMores
08-08-2005, 04:07 PM
*taps finger on mouth and looks in the air pensively*

true. true.

i guess i forgot about the "office" thing you need to get outlook :)
'ts been a while since i set up my last pc. job = preconfigured, home = macintosh WITH full-featured-PIM-apps.

okay, i take everything back.

still ... PI rocks !

alex_kac
08-08-2005, 05:52 PM
I looked at the new version - and for the first time in the last two years I didn't purchase a PI upgrade.

Why? Not important stuff, really.

1. I find the UI more complicated than in the previous versions (guess I got used to the look and feel of PI Professional 5). Mostly, I miss the possibility to set the order of the application registry cards (I want it to be calendar, contacts, notes, to do - and not the default order I suddenly am supposed to accept in PI 2005).

2. Also, I still find the icons unusably small on a VGA device.

So, while I still love PI, I'm happy to continue using the older version. (Just my 5 cents, though).

Cheers,
teq

And a great two cents it is ;)

I do want to put my own spin on both of those - without diminishing your opinion.

On #1 - we tried hard in PI 2005 to simplify the user interface. That was a major part of it. We do plan to add back the ability to re-order the tabs in a near update as I know how important that is to people.

On #2 - I don't really understand that comment. Except in the tabs, all the icons are double the size of the QVGA icons which means that they are the exact same size visually since VGA is double the DPI. And in the tabs, there are two options to increase the size to a larger size.

But I bet I could give you a list of all the major changes in PI 2005 (especially the coming update) which you would be surprised with :)

teq
08-09-2005, 08:35 AM
And a great two cents it is ;)

I do want to put my own spin on both of those - without diminishing your opinion.

On #1 - we tried hard in PI 2005 to simplify the user interface. That was a major part of it. We do plan to add back the ability to re-order the tabs in a near update as I know how important that is to people.

On #2 - I don't really understand that comment. Except in the tabs, all the icons are double the size of the QVGA icons which means that they are the exact same size visually since VGA is double the DPI. And in the tabs, there are two options to increase the size to a larger size.

But I bet I could give you a list of all the major changes in PI 2005 (especially the coming update) which you would be surprised with :)
@alex_kac:
Thanks for your statement (though I could have done without the sarcasm). Concerning the icon size: My main concern is the size of the category icons. I find these terribly hard to see on a VGA device - especially on the icon select screen (you know, the screen where you select an icon for a certain category). I even bought a separate "professional icon set" which was supposed to be for VGA devices - didn't really help.

I guess it's just that I'm really happy with my "older" PI and I don't require the new 2005 version. When do you plan to add the possiblity to re-order the tabs? I guess I will give it another spin once this works again. (I had contacted your customer support about this - they told me it was left out intentionally because it had caused a lot of confusion on the users' side...)

Cheers,
teq

Ed Hansberry
08-09-2005, 11:46 AM
And a great two cents it is ;)
@alex_kac:
Thanks for your statement (though I could have done without the sarcasm).
Teq - I know Alex and I can assure you, there is no sarcasm there. He is genuinely interested in end user feedback. :-)

alex_kac
08-09-2005, 05:59 PM
And a great two cents it is ;)

I do want to put my own spin on both of those - without diminishing your opinion.

On #1 - we tried hard in PI 2005 to simplify the user interface. That was a major part of it. We do plan to add back the ability to re-order the tabs in a near update as I know how important that is to people.

On #2 - I don't really understand that comment. Except in the tabs, all the icons are double the size of the QVGA icons which means that they are the exact same size visually since VGA is double the DPI. And in the tabs, there are two options to increase the size to a larger size.

But I bet I could give you a list of all the major changes in PI 2005 (especially the coming update) which you would be surprised with :)
@alex_kac:
Thanks for your statement (though I could have done without the sarcasm).
No sarcasm meant. I re-read my post and didn't see any in there, but I certainly didn't mean to.


Concerning the icon size: My main concern is the size of the category icons. I find these terribly hard to see on a VGA device - especially on the icon select screen (you know, the screen where you select an icon for a certain category). I even bought a separate "professional icon set" which was supposed to be for VGA devices - didn't really help.

I'm not sure how that is PI's fault, though. By default, PI shows the category icons the same way from version 2 to version 6. PI 2005 does not show them any smaller by default. Now, one difference in PI 2005 is that we now offer an option to SCALE category icons to the same size as your text size. That means that if you use a larger or smaller text size, the icons will scale up or down. But that option is off by default - so PI 2005 would show your icons to the pixel at the same size as PI 5.x.

We don't make category icons. We sell a few from other artists, but its up to the other artists to make them whatever sizes customers want. I know the artists that we resell for crave feedback, but don't get much. We normally get people asking for smaller sizes, not bigger, which is what they work off.

I guess it's just that I'm really happy with my "older" PI and I don't require the new 2005 version. When do you plan to add the possiblity to re-order the tabs? I guess I will give it another spin once this works again. (I had contacted your customer support about this - they told me it was left out intentionally because it had caused a lot of confusion on the users' side...)


And honestly, I'm happy that you're happy with the "older" PI. We do want to add the re-ordering of tabs sooner rather than later, but we're trying to rethink how to do it specifically because yes, we were getting a lot of people confused about that in conjunction with hiding tabs.

You know, for 2 years I still used Outlook XP instead of Outlook 2003 because I was happy with it :)